Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman





Thursday, May 31, 2012

Relaxing Evening

Over Memorial Weekend the weather here in the desert cooled and we had a beautiful evening to get out and enjoy some of our Valley culture.
First we had an early dinner at Los Olivos in Old Towne Scottsdale.
 This restaurant was established in 1928 and is still run by the same family. Doug often came here as a child and one of the waitresses he remembers is still working here. She is in her seventies.
 The building itself is quite unique with thick adobe walls, a maze of rooms and this room off to the left which is like being underwater with those windows up on top.
 We continued our evening by "walking off" our dinner through Old Towne and down towards the galleries.
 You really never know what you will see in Scottsdale. Although many of the galleries specialize in Western Art there are examples from around the world.
 You never know what will be just down the street.
 This guy was my favorite as he is carrying his journal. There wasn't a sign to tell if he was somebody in particular but I like the "anonymous writer."
As we headed back to the car if felt like a perfect end to a perfect evening in the Valley of the Sun.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WOW - Childhood Memories

I am writing today’s post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing’s “Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories” mass-blogging event celebrating the release of Finding Emma by Steena Holmes.).
Steena is a woman who believes that 'in the end, all things succumb...to the passions of your heart'. Steena's life revolves around her family, friends and fiction. Add some chocolate into the mix and she's living the good life. She took those passions and made them a dream come true by pouring her heart into each of her stories. (For a guest post by Stenna check back here on June 16.)
Finding Emma has quickly become a bestseller. Proceeds from each book will be donated to The Missing Children's Society of Canada - an organization dedicated to reuniting families. Visit www.mcsc.ca for more information.
If you comment on today’s post on this blog or any of the others participating the "Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories" day, you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Finding Emma!
To read Steena’s about childhood memories and view a list of other blogs participating in the "Everybody’s Talking About Favorite Childhood Memories" day please visit  The Muffin.
The Women 
Coming from a broken home with only one sister; women have always played the major roll in my life. Oddly there were 5 generations of strong women.

My great grandmother, Nellie Martin, was a pioneer who came from Illinois to southwestern Kansas by wagon in the early 1880s. She lived in dugouts, soddys and barns. Deserted by her husband she raised her daughter by herself in a time when divorced women were frowned upon. She held her head high; worked as a telephone operator and stayed active in her church.

I only have flashes of memory of "Grandma Great" as we all called her. She was always crocheting or tatting and watching her family grow.

Her daughter, Jennie, grew up and married a barber. They had six children and she was always in her garden or cooking. She could crochet anything and when she tatted her hands flew so fast they were a blur.
 "Grandma Jennie" moved to Arizona after my grandfather died and I spent a great deal of time with her. I learned to crochet and knit. She tried to teach me to tat but I only got the basics because her hands were always so fast. (And frankly I didn't stay with any of them which I'm very sorry to say now.)

My mom, Viola, was also a young divorcee. She raised my sister and I on her own. I remember her working two jobs and making every little bit stretch as far as possible. What was a roast one day was open faced sandwiches the next and eventually the best vegetable beef soup I've ever had.
Mom collected chickens and loved to garden. She could grow just about anything. I learned to cook from her but there are some of her recipes that I won't even try because only Mom could make them. Mom was happiest when one of her grandkids was near.

The next woman in my life was my sister. Since she was ten years older Betty was more of a mother and sometimes I resented her for that. At other times I don't know what I would have done without my "Sissy." Betty was an amazing artist in all mediums. She raised goats and chickens and learned to spin. She could do anything she set her mind to and NOBODY got in her way.

Betty taught me to draw and gave me my love of the Old West. Whenever I need strength I just have to think of her.
 Next in line of descent is my niece. Because my sister was so much older there was only eleven years between Jackie and I. I loved my niece when she was little and I thought she was the greatest thing on earth. As we got older we became closer and closer until we were "sisters," "best friends" and "soul mates."
Jackie and I could spend hours watching Elvis Presley movies, drinking Pepsi and eating Reese's peanut butter cups. We both loved to read, write and make miniatures. She loved Eeyore and playing her flute. We always laughed and laughed; she had a very infectious giggle.

We both had daughters who are close enough in age to be sisters and who often fight like sisters.

My daughter, Jessica, on the left has two boys and Jackie's daughter, Liz, on the right, has one son. The line of women has come to a close (unless Liz should surprise us one day.) The legacy of these women will always live on through the things they taught us, the  strength they left us and the love we all share. (BTW: Liz is now the tatter of the family.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Guest Post and a Contest: Mari L. McCarthy

Morphing the Critic into a Coach
By Mari L. McCarthy

Many of us are all too aware of our Inner Critic, that inner voice that sneers and scolds, the superego that drives us mercilessly. The voice can be tyrannical and, even though it comes from our own minds, it can destroy confidence and even happiness. 

If your Inner Critic has the upper hand, you will want to regain control as fast as possible because it's seriously unhealthy to let it have all the power. You must find a way to silence it or you won't have a moment of peace.

Nonetheless, we can say that the Inner Critic, when properly leashed, serves a useful purpose. We are not yet perfect, so it's appropriate that we remind ourselves now and again that it would be good to improve. The fact that we have this conscience as part of our basic makeup is pretty fabulous. It's an inner monitor that ensures we don't just sink into laziness and uncaring.

So how to keep a good balance between the torturous Inner Critic and the one that's actually healthy? One excellent way I know is to journal.

The reason journaling works so well is that it takes your endlessly circular inner thinking and puts it on the page, where you can look at it far more objectively. If you use your journal to examine what that nasty Critic is saying, or to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with him, or to tell her off – then you're able to break the cycles of inner chatter and move on.

You can also use your journal to create and build your Inner Coach. This is the persona – a being you can readily envision – who lives in your journal and believes in you more than anyone. Everything the Inner Coach says and does is to appreciate and encourage you.

You might think of the Critic and the Coach as separate, but really they are two faces of the same inner impulse to be, grow, and do. I don't know why, but we tend to hide the Coach's face most of the time. In journal writing, you can work consciously to turn that helpful face to the light.

As you quote the Inner Critic and describe its barbs in writing, you can start to see how it is not such a good leader if we're looking for peace and happiness. You can begin to describe the opposite of that Critic, and let your Coach evolve. When there is at least equality between the two, you can use them to achieve balance in your life. What do they each say at any given time? Which one do you choose to listen to? Can you take bits of advice from each and combine for a perfect solution?

Journaling lets you do this kind of envisioning, dialog, and analysis to arrive at a You that is more calm and in control. It's a real-world application that lets us make sense of our crazy minds!
Mari L. McCarthy is The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Create Write Now and Journaling for the Health of It™. Mari offers guidance, counseling and encouragement to writers through her many journaling eBooks and in private Journaling Jumpstart consultations. Mari’s next Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days Challenge will be June 4-10 http://www.createwritenow.com/start-journaling-workbook. Please join her!
For more about the Inner Critic and Inner Coach, please read these articles.
7DAYStart_Cover4FBAd__52319_zoom.jpg
Book Review
By Rita Ackerman 

This workbook opens with the reasons people are attracted to journaling and introduces ways to make journaling a part of the reader's life.

Mari introduces collage, ways to get past the blank page, and projects to get your mindset geared to being a writer.

The spiral-bound version would be the most inspiring with it's bright colors and fun pages but the eBook version will also get any person ready to write. There are links to prompts sure to end blank page syndrome.

Mari introduces ways to use your daily life and imagination to gather ideas and keep the pen moving.

I feel enthused to get going on my journal and look forward to being a part of Mari's workshop on June 4.

To win an eBook copy of Start Journaling and Change Your LIfe in 7 Days
by Mari L. McCarthy leave a comment to this
post before Sunday, May 20. That evening I will choose a winner
and let Mari know. Please be sure I can contact you.





Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

 Chase Field (Formerly Bank One Ball Park or BOB) in downtown Phoenix. When this building was first built people came from all over the world to see how they constructed the roof that completely opens. It was closed when we arrived.

We had very good seats, right behind the Diamondbacks dugout.
There was always lots of fun things and excitement.


 Alex learned to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" last year and his voice sang in my head all evening. We had popcorn and pretzels and soda pop. And even a bag of cotton candy.

Part way through the game they opened the roof. It was so quite we didn't even know it until somebody yelled out.


Even with all the excitement and being in a section of expensive seats (ours were gifts) there were people texting through the entire game.


Sadly the D-Backs lost to the San Francisco Giants but it was a great time out. We waited for awhile for the crowd to subside and then walked around the stadium so I could get a photo of the pool on the opposite side from where we sat. Pretty Cool, Huh?
I never went to games as a kid. My first games were football and basketball in junior and senior high school. When they sang out "Let's Go D-Backs" I kept hearing "Let's Go East High."
Memories are everywhere.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Remember When: Backgrounds

When I look at photographs of ancestors or other historical photos I spend a lot of time looking at the background. The way the people lived and the details of their lives.
Do you remember slumber parties? Are they still as popular as they were when I was young? This photo is probably around 1968 or 1969.
I remember the girls in this photo but what I'm enjoying most is remembering my room. There's a hamster cage. I don't remember the hamster. Above that is the little pink jewelry box Mom got me at the Woolworths in Great Bend, Kansas after a bad time at the dentist.

There's a white plastic clamshell box I still have. On top of the TV is a ceramic critter that I will write more about later. I don't know where we got that old TV but I do remember watching "The Lloyd Thaxton Show," "Hullabaloo" and many others. That blue phonograph played many an album and singles. I'm sure the "Meet the Beatles" album is hiding on the rack.

My how I'm loving these memories. Have you looked back at your own photos lately? Have you looked at the details that are full of memories in themselves?

It also makes me happy to think this blog is helping me share my memories with my daughter and if the technology allows my grandchildren as they get older. Oh, how I wish my ancestors had blogs.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's Not What You Expect

How could anybody resist a book that starts out like this:

"I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen."

Or a book that has descriptions like this:

"Then I came around back (of the old, abandoned house) and saw my opportunity: a doorless doorway, bearded with vines, gaping and black; an open mouth just waiting to swallow me."

When a friend sent me the trailer for "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" I had no idea of the adventure I was going to take through this book of odd old photos and haunting writing. Two of my favorite things.

I was at Barnes & Noble and one of the booksellers saw the book in my hand and he said, "It's not what you expect." I said I had read the back cover and he shook his head, "It STILL isn't what you expect." He couldn't have put it better.

After I finished the book I started doing research on the book and the author, Ransom Riggs. In his quest to do the trailer he met with an urban explorer (something else that fascinates me) overseas to find the perfect locations for filming.

That led me to another amazing video:
I'm hooked. I can't wait for the sequel and the movie.
We haven't heard the last of this book or its author.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Remember When: Mother's Day

In March my Mother would have turned 89. It's so hard to imagine her at that age. She passed away in May 1990 when she was just 67 years old.
I'm working on trying to write down my memories of Mom. My daughter was only 10 when we lost her Nana and she doesn't remember a lot.
My great niece and nephew and the grandkids: I want them to know the funny little things that Mom did.
Mom always worked hard. She was a single-mother for as long as I remember and her pride kept her busy making our small home as nice and clean as possible.

I do remember going to the Crest Theater in Great Bend, Kansas with her. We saw "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" there. Still one of my all-time favorite children's movies. We also saw "Bambi" and I remember having the soundtrack record. Such beautiful music.
One movie that stands out in my mind was "The Greatest Story Ever Told" about the life of Jesus. I remember a close-up of the blue eyed man who played the lead roll and how his face filled that entire screen. I didn't know eyes could look like that. I was about 9 years old.

I brought this cactus home from Mom's house and every year about this time it blooms. It is so beautiful and of course makes me think of Mom and her gardens and her love of flowers.

I miss you Mom. You gave me so much and now you continue to give to the next generations.

Tell us about going to the theater or other special memories of your Mom. 


Monday, May 7, 2012

The Ballet

I have always been amazed when watching ballet - only on television or movies. I've never been to a ballet - until this weekend.

My friend's son is graduating this year from the Scottsdale School of Ballet. Her daughter graduated two years ago, before I knew them.
When she told me about the school's performance at the Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix I knew I had to go and since it was another friend's birthday . . . we were off to the ballet.

I couldn't take pictures of the performance but it was amazing. All the way from the little kids playing mice and puppies to the advanced students. Andrew, the graduate, was amazing. I had no idea how powerful ballet could be in person. His sister, Amy, although a former graduate had a part too and she was great.

The excitement of theater and being downtown is intoxicating.


These are some of the lights in the area surrounding
the theater and other downtown venues.

I love taking "experimental" photos like this.
Some of the excitement on the street.

Congratulations to Andrew, Amy and all the dancers of the Scottsdale School of Ballet.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Back Through Time and Family

 Last summer I found a clue in an old newspaper that stated a relative of my husband had been killed by lightening near Miami, Arizona. I wouldn't thought too much about this article because it was about a John Martin but I did glance through it and saw an Overdeer as a relative. That name isn't common, especially in Arizona so I knew I had somebody from my husband's family.

I followed through on John Martin and learned his parents were from Washington and actually buried in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery near Goldendale. When I got up to Washington my daughter and I took a day to drive down and visit with her ancestors. Not only did we find her great, great, great grandparents stones but we learned other information from the local historical society.
I've continue the search and learned a couple of weeks ago that Jessica's fourth great grandparents are buried in Yakima. A cemetery she had visited often with no idea she had family buried there.
The names of the people buried in Yakima are Joseph and Mary Jane Remley. The Remleys lived in a different county than the Martins and I don't know yet how the families came together but we now have a new place to research.

Who would have thought that when my daughter met her husband and chose to move to south central Washington she would be living in the same place as her own ancestors. Monday Jessica and Matt went out to the cemetery and took photos which they haven't sent yet but just knowing there is that connection is touching.

As I watch "Who Do You Think You Are" each week I'm amazed at how these celebrities find their ancestors and the serendipitous events that occur for them. I am also often surprised by their emotional reactions. I think Jessica is feeling a bit of that connection to her own forebears.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Remember When: Hollyhocks


I just went out to trim back some dead hollyhocks. I planted a whole packet of seeds and there are two about ready to bloom.
I think.

One reason I'm so interested in growing hollyhocks is this photo of my Great Grandmother Nellie and her sister Laura.
Those are some serious hollyhocks.
This photo was taken in Fowler, Kansas. A tiny town in the southwestern part of the state. My 2nd Great Grandfather, John Riley Keith brought his family to this area from Illinois via covered wagon. Nellie was about 7 years old.

When we watch movies on tv or read about history it always seems like so long ago. That the things that we're watching don't really have a connection to us. But, I remember Nellie, she died when I was 10. I have pictures of a little me with her. Laura died in January 1930.

Those wagon train days aren't so far off.
I wish I'd been older or knew to ask more questions before Nellie left us. Now all those stories are gone. 
I'm doing my best to reconstruct the history. To learn about my ancestors and to even grow the same flowers.

How do you link to your past?